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Three approaches to the measurement of power in international relations


  • Hart, Jeffrey


There are three main approaches to the observation and measurement of power: 1) control over resources, 2) control over actors, and 3) control over events and outcomes. The control over events and outcomes approach emerges as the best approach to the measurement of power in contemporary international politics because: 1) it is the only approach which takes into account the possibility of interdependence and collective action, 2) it is more general than the other two approaches, and 3) it produces a type of analysis which has both descriptive and normative advantages. I will discuss each of these approaches at length and criticize them. I will argue that the third approach is superior to the other two for the measurement of power in contemporary international politics because it is better suited to situations in which interdependence and collective action can be derived from the third.

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, Jeffrey, 1976. "Three approaches to the measurement of power in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(02), pages 289-305, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:30:y:1976:i:02:p:289-305_01

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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "Hegemonic Stability Theories of the International Monetary System," NBER Working Papers 2193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zürn, Michael, 1992. "Interessen und Institutionen in der internationalen Politik: Grundlegung und Anwendungen des situationsstrukturellen Ansatzes," EconStor Books, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 112639, March.

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